A.L. City Council OKs 2 street projects

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, April 14, 2010

After hearing concerns over proposed assessments, sidewalk responsibilities and access to businesses, the Albert Lea City Council on Monday voted to move forward with two road construction projects planned for the summer.

The first project involves the mill, overlay and miscellaneous curb, gutter and sidewalk replacement on Front Street from U.S. Highway 69 to Broadway Avenue and on Hammer Road from Greenwood Drive to Bridge Avenue.

It also includes the installation of a new sidewalk on the north side of Hammer Road from Bridge Avenue westward to Highland Avenue.

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According to background information on the project, Front Street was constructed between 1958 and 1966, and the last time it was overlaid was in 1994.

Hammer Road, from Greenwood Drive to Bridge Avenue, was constructed in 1974 and overlaid in 1990.

Estimated costs are about $555,000 with $212,000 being assessable to adjacent property owners and the remaining $343,000 being paid with municipal state aid funds.

Two people questioned the necessity of the new sidewalk on Hammer, especially with high drifts there in the winter, and questioned who would have to shovel that area and where they would put the snow.

Access points to two businesses along Front Street were also questioned, as business owners wanted to make sure customers had access to their business.

Councilors indicated they would like to make sure it gets written in the construction contract to keep access to the two businesses during construction.

The new sidewalk on Hammer Road is being installed according to the city’s assessment policy, which states that all state-aid streets should have a sidewalk on at least one side. The city pays 50 percent of new sidewalks while the property owner is assessed the other 50 percent.

The second project involves the street reconstruction, sanitary sewer and watermain installation on U.S. Highway 69 for a handful of houses.

The houses were annexed into the city in 2008 after begin surrounded by the city during the development phase of Wedgewood Cove.

Costs are being assessed to four property owners.

Two people questioned the size of the assessments and asked if the wells on their properties could be grandfathered in.

Engineering is recommending the eastern half of the roadway be city cost, along with the trunk sewer and watermain. This would increase the city cost to about $73,000 with the assessable portion $104,000, according to background information.

Because of the value of the proposed assessments and the number of homes affected — there are four that directly benefit — the assessments will be paid back over a 15-year period.

In other action, the City Council:

Declared May 8 as annual Hometown Pride Cleanup Day within the city.

On that day, city residents will have the chance to dispose of items either free of charge or at a reduced rate at the transfer station and demolition landfill.

Cleanup day would go from 9 a.m. to noon with proof of city residency required.

Reduced rates include the following: brush and yard waste would be free; household garbage would be free; demolition debris would be free; appliance and sofa beds would be $10 each; other furniture would be $5 each; passenger car tires would be $3; and rims and e-waste would be at regular rates.

Items stored in the Albert Lea Airport hangars will also be able to disposed of at free or reduced rates despite some owners not residing within the city limits.

Approved a request to close Frank Avenue from Front Street to James Avenue and then James Avenue to The Children’s Center entryway for the Land Between the Lakes Kids Triathalon. The event is June 5, starting at 9 a.m.

The council also approved putting down cones on the road on Front Street for the biking portion of the kids triathalon.

For a similar event, the council approved barricades and traffic control for the Fountain Lake 5 and Tiger Trot on Saturday.

Approved an agreement with the Albert Lea Community Baseball Association for rights to sell food and beverages at Snyder Field from April 24 through Aug. 31.

Under the proposed agreement, the association will be an independent contractor and will be responsible for day-to-day operations.

The association will be required to maintain insurance and will pay $50 per month to the city.

Approved a request to have a kids-only campout by the Albert Lea Parks & Recreation Department and the Albert Lea School’s Environmental Learning Center.

For the campout, children will be dropped off Thursday, July 29, at 4 p.m. and be picked up the next day at 10 a.m.

They will participate in activities such as canoeing, scavenger hunts, a guided night hike, among other activities, and will camp out and make two meals over a campfire.

 Approval was necessary because overnight camping is typically prohibited in city parks.

 Amended the listing for the upcoming city/county auction of excess and abandoned property. The 1999 Dodge Ram that was previously listed was removed and a 2000 Ford F250 pickup was added.

The auction is at 4:30 p.m. May 6 at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds.

Look to the Tribune Thursday for more about an informational meeting held during the council meeting regarding the annexation of three tracts off of County Road 45 in Bancroft Township.